Published on April 25, 2012 by Mary Wimberley  

Teacher education students from Samford University and Miles College will partner to host elementary students at the 2012  Young Authors' Conference at Samford Friday, April 27. The event will feature an appearance by popular author Charles Ghigna, better known in children's literary circles as Father Goose.

The future teachers have spent months planning and preparing to lead this year's conference for 120 third-graders from Hoover's Trace Crossings Elementary School, where Samford students participate in on-site instruction and complete their clinical experiences.

During the conference, the Miles and Samford students will lead the elementary students in various activities based on four children's novels: Rules, Esperanza Rising, The Tale of Desperaux and Bud, Not Buddy.

"The goal of the conference is to create enthusiasm for reading and writing among the K-6 students, and to expose them to the higher education environment," said coordinator Dr. Michele Haralson.

The collaboration between teacher education students from Miles and Samford will give all of the future teachers an opportunity to increase their sensitivity toward reaching students from diverse cultures, added Haralson, director of the curriculum materials and technology center at Samford's Orlean Bullard School of Education and Professional Studies.

While the partnership between the teacher education departments at Miles and Samford dates back to 2002,  interaction  for this Friday's event began in the spring of 2011 with small group diversity awareness activities.  After sessions in the fall that focused on issues of tolerance and diversity, students suggested that they undertake a project on which they could work together, explains Haralson. 

The result is the upcoming conference, for which the college students have planned culturally responsive lessons based on the novels that were chosen as the theme.

Between 9 and 11 a.m., Miles and Samford teacher education candidates will lead the Trace Crossings students in various activities in rooms in Orlean Bullard Beeson education building.  At 11 a.m., Ghigna will speak to the students in Brock Forum, located in Dwight Beeson Hall.

Ghigna, the author of more than 50 award-winning books, has written more than 5,000 poems for children and adults. He is a popular speaker who promotes the love of poetry and children's literature throughout the world.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.